Journal of Plant Pathology
Parcey, M., Gayder, S., Castle, A.J., Svircev, A.M. (2019) Study of Erwinia phage-host interactions through quantitative real-time PCR. J Plant Pathol. 101: 849-83
The goal of many biocontrol programs is the use of bacteriophage to target and repress the population of a specific bacterial pathogen. Regardless of the environment in which the treatment will be applied, the study of the interactions between the phage and its host is primarily performed using plaque assays, spot tests, and
optical density measurements: all techniques which have remained vastly unchanged over the last 70 years. Using a combination of chloroform-based sampling, centrifugation, DNase treatment, and quantitative real-time PCR, the stage of the lytic phage lifecycle an individual Erwinia phage genome can be determined. Monitoring the rate of transition between these stages in a population then allows one to calculate adsorption rate, burst size, and the latent period of a phage-host combination within a single experiment. The characteristics of four different genera of Erwinia phage on their ideal hosts were determined using this technique. The Ea214virus and Sp6virus genera are able to adsorb to their hosts at a rate up to 6.6 times faster than Ea92virus and grican357virus while producing a comparable phage output over time suggesting they may make more effective phage-mediated biocontrol agents.